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Avoid Brushing After Every Single Meal!

February 24th, 2021

Here is some surprising yet worthwhile advice you might be hearing for the first time: Brushing after a meal can be incredibly bad for your teeth if you do it after eating certain foods.

Enamel is an extremely hard mineral on the exterior of each of your teeth. It’s actually the hardest substance in the human body: It’s even stronger than your bones! Its only weakness is that acids in the food we eat can easily destroy enamel.

Healthy teeth thrive in an environment that has the proper pH balance. That ensures your mouth doesn’t start the process of demineralization. That’s what happens when alkaline turns into acid, which attacks and softens the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Pores and fissures form, and that’s when the harmful bacteria go to work.

Our mouth’s pH level fluctuates depending on what we eat throughout the day. Examples of the most common highly acidic foods include citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of pH in your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid.

Can brushing your teeth immediately after a meal lead to even more damage? The answer is yes!

Eating highly acidic foods causes your teeth to be more susceptible. If you brush your teeth when they have been weakened by acids, even more destruction can happen to your enamel. Your toothbrush’s bristles will actually wear away some of your enamel. So it’s healthier to wait at least an hour after eating or snacking to brush.

Good preventive measures to take instead of brushing after you eat include:

  • Rinsing or drinking water
  • Chewing sugarless gum
  • Consuming dairy or non-acidic foods to conclude your meal

These practices help produce saliva, which in turn restores a healthy pH level in your mouth and coats the teeth with minerals they need.

Once you’ve allowed time for your mouth to be restored to a healthy pH level, you may brush your teeth as you normally would. Keep in mind that acidic foods can weaken the enamel on your teeth and take the right measures to prevent spiking pH levels.

Most important, don’t forget to wait to brush at least one hour after you eat!

Still have questions? Call our Lufkin office and schedule an appointment with Drs. Rose Ralph and Hayley McClendon.

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 24th, 2021

Happy February from Hollywood Dental. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month which makes it the perfect time for Dr. Rose and Dr. McClendon to review some of the important steps in keeping your child’s smile happy and healthy. Keep reading to discover how you can help your child maintain a smile that will last a lifetime.

Dental care for your child begins in infancy so start brushing ASAP! The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt with a soft, age-appropriate-sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. At this stage of development, you should still perform or supervise your child’s toothbrushing. Ensure your child spits out excess toothpaste and does not swallow.

Creating good habits early in life is key to keeping your child’s smile healthy! Getting your child motivated about their oral hygiene routine can be challenging at times. Try using incentives like prizes from a prize jar as a reward. Keeping your child engaged while they are caring for their teeth can also present challenges. Find a song the child likes and let them brush while listening! This can keep your child engaged all while making brushing more fun. Try letting them have their own uninterrupted turn followed by mom's or dad's turn, this can create a feeling of responsibility for their own oral health and give them a sense of independence.

Wondering what toothbrushes and toothpaste to pick out for your child? We have some helpful tips for you. Always use an age-appropriate toothbrush for your child until the age of 9 or 10. By that age, few primary teeth are left and most teeth are permanent and the child can begin using an adult toothbrush with soft bristles or a power brush. As for toothpaste, any toothpaste with sodium fluoride as the main ingredient is recommended for children. There any many flavors out there and finding one your child likes is crucial to having a good attitude towards brushing.

Another essential step in your child’s dental health routine is providing them a balanced diet full of protein, vegetables, and fruit. A balanced diet creates a neutral pH in the mouth which helps to prevent acid attacks from cavity-causing bacteria. Some low sugar snack option ideas are raw fruit, cheese cubes, nuts, and even raw vegetables. Also reducing sugar and fermentable carbohydrate intake will reduce the food source for these cavity-causing bacteria and thus, help prevent decay.

Skip the fruit juice (which can have a lot of sugar) and make sure your child drinks plenty of water. This year’s theme for National Children’s Dental Health Month is “Water: Nature’s Drink.” We hope you encourage your children to drink more water! It is beneficial for more than just their teeth!

It’s recommended that kids go in for their first oral health checkup when their baby teeth first begin to emerge or by the time their first birthday comes around. Though it may seem early, this visit is essential to ensure your child doesn’t have any signs of gum or tooth decay and that their teeth are erupting and developing properly. Baby teeth can begin emerging as early as six months!

Your child may express some anxiety about their first trip to the dentist so creating a positive atmosphere to associate with the dentist is important. Don’t make the child believe they are being punished for bad behavior or lack of taking care of their teeth. Tell your child that nothing will hurt them at their dental checkup and reiterate the importance of checking the health of their teeth! Here at our office, we use a token reward system. The child is informed there are tokens that can get them prizes and they earn tokens according to their cooperation and behavior during their appointment.

If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more, our team is always happy to discuss them with you—any time of year! We can’t wait to see you and your family in our office again soon. We look forward to seeing you!





Dangers of Alcohol and Oral Health

February 17th, 2021

We often have patients who ask, “Can drinking alcohol affect my oral health?” There are, in fact, a few reasons why that martini may not be good for your pearly whites.

In addition to creating an overly acidic environment in your mouth, alcohol severely dehydrates oral tissues because of its desiccant and diuretic properties. Because alcohol saps oral tissues of their moisture so readily, saliva glands can't keep enough saliva in the mouth to prevent dry mouth. In addition, saliva contains antibacterial properties that inhibits growth of anaerobic bacteria, a destructive type of oral bacterial responsible for tooth decay, gingivitis, chronic bad breath, and periodontitis.

What are anaerobic bacteria?

When there is a lack of saliva flow in the mouth and the mouth cannot naturally cleanse itself of oral debris (food particles, dead skin cell, mucous), conditions develop that promote activity of anaerobic bacteria, or bacteria that thrive in dry, airless places. These anaerobes also flourish when an unending supply of proteins (food debris) are available to consume, creating rapidly multiplying layers of plaque that stick to teeth and demineralizes tooth enamel unless removed by brushing and professional dental cleanings.

Oral Cancer and Alcohol

Acetaldehyde is a chemical compound leftover after the liver has metabolized alcohol. Capable of causing genetic mutations, acetaldehyde is also a known carcinogen that contributes to the ill feelings of hangovers. Although most metabolism of alcohol is done in the liver, evidence shows that metabolism also occurs outside the liver and that enzymes in the mouth could encourage accumulation of acetaldehyde in oral tissues.

When combined with poor oral health, smoking, and other detrimental lifestyle factors, alcohol may be considered a primary contributory factor in the development of oral cancer.

Even if you don't drink or drink only occasionally, remaining aware of symptoms that may indicate oral cancer will improve your chances of recovering successfully when you start treatment in the early stages of oral cancer. Signs include red or while speckled patches in the mouth, unexplained bleeding, lumps/swellings, chronic ear or throat pain, and areas of numbness in the mouth or on the face.

If you have any questions about alcohol and its connection to oral health, don’t hesitate to ask Drs. Rose Ralph and Hayley McClendon at your next visit to our Lufkin office.

The Start of Valentine’s Day

February 10th, 2021

Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day, has been said to originate with a Catholic priest named Valentine several thousand year ago. Valentine defied the emperor at the time by secretly marrying men and their brides after the emperor had made it illegal to marry. Emperor Claudius II did this because he wanted as many single young men to fight in his war as he could get.

Valentine disobeyed the emperor’s edict by continuing to marry couples until he was sentenced to death. Before his execution, he sent a letter to a secret love and signed it “From your Valentine.” Drs. Rose Ralph and Hayley McClendon and our team have come up with some suggestions on how you can celebrate this Valentine’s Day, whether you have a valentine of your own or not.

Valentine's Day Ideas

  • Enjoy a tasty treat. There are plenty of options when it comes to cooking and/or baking on Valentine’s Day. Make your significant other his or her favorite meal or sweet treat, or make your own favorite dish to enjoy on this day. Oh, and be sure to make enough for leftovers!
  • Make a personalized card. Instead of buying a card from the grocery store, take the time to make your own for a loved one. People love handwritten notes, especially when it’s from someone special. If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, make a card for fellow single friend to brighten the day and remind the person that he or she is also loved.
  • Watch a movie. We all know there are plenty of romance movies out there. Put on your favorite romantic comedy, or pick up your significant other’s favorite movie to watch together. Even better, if you’re single, pick up your own favorite movies to watch to pass the time this Valentine’s Day.
  • Do nothing! We all know Valentine’s Day can sometimes get a lot of hype. If you’re worried about not making a reservation in time, don’t feel like planning an extravagant night out, or simply not in the holiday mood this year, spend your day sitting back and relaxing.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and spend quality hours with the people you care about the most. Whether you’re in a relationship or single, take some time today to appreciate those you love in your life.

We wish you a happy Valentine’s Day celebration and look forward to seeing you at our Lufkin office during your next appointment.

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